119 billionaires, 53 heads of state, and an $8.3 million security bill: A look at Davos by the numbers

REUTERS/Arnd WiegmannA general view shows the mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2019
  • The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), or Davos as it’s more commonly known, kicked off Tuesday in Switzerland.
  • Davos will have dozens of billionaires and heads of state in attendance, but few women.
  • The Swiss government budgeted $US8.3 million for the conference’s security costs in 2017 alone.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s not easy to put on an event that will be attended exclusively by the world’s richest and most powerful people.

That’s exactly what the World Economic Forum (WEF) does with its annual meeting. The four-day conference began Tuesday in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. This year, attendees include US President Donald Trump, climate activist Greta Thunberg, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Business Insider reported.

Keep reading to take a look at how Davos works.


22: The per cent of Davos attendees who were women in 2019.

REUTERS/Arnd WiegmannHost Wolfgang Ischinger, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2019.

Davos has long been plagued by criticism over the lack of diversity among attendees, the BBC reported. As a result, the WEF enacted a quota system mandating that companies bring at least one woman for every man in 2011, according to The Guardian.

Davos also has insufficient representation of African and Asian markets, former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Foreign Policy magazine editor David Rothkopf told CBS News.


53: The number of heads of state slated to attend Davos in 2020.

EUTERS/Arnd WiegmannGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2019.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump will be in attendance, Reuters reported.

Trump gave a rambling speech Tuesday, saying “America is winning again like never before,” but not mentioning his impeachment,Business Insider reported.


119: The number of billionaires slated to attend Davos in 2020.

REUTERS/Denis BalibouseMarc Benioff gestures as he attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2018.

Approximately 5% of the conference’s 2,000-person guest list are billionaires, Bloomberg reported. Marc Benioff, Jamie Dimon, Sheryl Sandberg, and Stephen Schwarzman are all scheduled to be there.


309: The number of private jets that flew into two Davos-area airports during the 2019 conference.

REUTERS/Arnd WiegmannA business jet arrives at the Swiss Air force base in Duebendorf, Switzerland, January 19, 2016. The airport Duebendorf in Duebendorf is used for arrivals and departures of participants of the the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Davos attendees are frequently criticised for flying across the globe on private jets to discuss the perils of climate change,CNN Business reported. “I think it’s very insane and weird that people come here in private jets to discuss climate change. It’s not reasonable,” Thunberg told CNN at Davos in 2019.

The WEF purchases carbon offset credits to offset all attendees’ flights, but such programs can have mixed results, according to CNN Business.


60,000: The number of Swiss francs it costs to be a member of the World Economic Forum ($US62,000).

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty ImagesVisitors walk inside the Congress Centre ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 21, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland.

While you do have to be a member to attend, admission is not included in the membership fee, according to the BBC. Anyone coming to represent a company is charged 27,000 Swiss francs ($US28,000) to attend, while activists and political leaders can come free of charge.

This sum also only covers the lowest tier of WEF membership, the BBC reported. The higher tiers have annual fees ranging up to 600,000 Swiss francs ($US620,000).


8,000,000: The number of Swiss francs that Switzerland budgeted for security during the four-day event in 2017 ($US8.3 million).

REUTERS/Ruben SprichSwiss special police officer observes the area from atop the roof of a building during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017.

The resort town is a “veritable fortress” during the event, according to The New York Times’ Michael J. de la Merced and Russell Goldman.

There are rooftop snipers and airport style-security at the main conference centre, the BBC reported.

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